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BUI penalties can mar a pleasant day in a hurry

It is sheer understatement to simply note legions of Charleston-area residents’ fixation on water over many months of the year.

After all, notes one tourist publication, “one of the Holy City’s greatest attributes is its prime location near the water.”

Indeed, and as the online site Hidden Charleston stresses, the city “is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, fresh water lakes and winding rivers making endless options for activities.”

That means cookouts, sunning, swimming and general lazing, of course.

And it also means boating, which for on-the-water diehards can make for an almost impossible-to-resist proposition.

The lure of boating is instantly understandable. The urge to get out on open water can seem compelling about this time every spring, with summer looming ever larger on the calendar.

So too, though, can some boaters’ unbridled inclination to imbibe alcohol while behind the wheel. For many South Carolina boaters each year, so-called “boating under the influence” quickly turns a pristine day into a true headache. Sudden and unanticipated interaction with law enforcers annually yields materially adverse consequences for many boaters.

What is the state’s official take on boating under the influence?

This much is sure: Criminal law enforcers patrolling South Carolina waterways do not take a casual and forgiving approach to boat operators they believe are compromised by behind-the-wheel intoxication.

Indeed, the inverse is true, as noted by one South Carolina legal source addressing BUI and its potential ramifications. That overview stresses that a drunk boating charge can have “the same types of devastating long-term effects as a drunk driving conviction.”

Common downsides tied to drunk boating convictions

The potential penalties tied to a BUI charge are many and varied. They include these adverse effects:

  • Driver’s license suspension
  • Spiked insurance rates
  • Assorted court costs and fees, which can spiral into outlays of thousands of dollars for individuals convicted more than once
  • Time spent in incarceration
  • Imposed community service
  • Loss of a professional license
  • Public stigma, and challenges in matters ranging from employment and housing to educational opportunities and more

South Carolina residents should of course fully enjoy their time spent on the state’s attractive waterways. When they face drinking-linked legal challenges while doing so, they can turn for guidance and strong representation to a proven DUI defense attorney.

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